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Local leaders react to Thursday's partial HB2 repeal

The bill was passed Thursday in response to pressure from the NCAA to repeal HB2 or risk losing all of North Carolina’s bids for NCAA championship sites through 2022.

In a statement, Chapel Hill Mayor Pam Hemminger noted her appreciation of Gov. Roy Cooper, who signed HB142 into law, but said the bill doesn’t do enough to address discrimination.

“We know that work remains to be done and will continue to advocate for nondiscrimination and equality for all,” she said.

Chapel Hill Town Council member Michael Parker said that while House Bill 142 removes the most public parts of HB2, like the bathroom restrictions, it still prevents local governments from enacting anti-discrimination ordinances.

Parker said pressure from the NCAA helped to create a deadline to repeal HB2, but that legislators worked only to the minimum of what the NCAA would accept.

“By creating something that was so egregious, people are willing to settle for something that under most circumstances they never would’ve tolerated,” Parker said.

Chapel Hill Town Council member Nancy Oates said she’s disappointed by the outcome, but she thinks a full HB2 repeal won’t come until the issue of gerrymandering is solved in court and new members of the General Assembly are elected.

Carrboro Mayor Lydia Lavelle said she wished HB2 could’ve been repealed entirely.

“It was very clear that HB2 was not going to be repealed anytime soon with this Republican majority, and I truly believe that Governor Cooper worked as hard as he could to get a repeal with reasonable conditions, and what passed today, HB142, is still a bad bill, but it’s not as bad as HB2 was,” she said.

Lavelle said it was an emotional day.

“As a member of the LGBTQ community, anytime there’s an issue with gay rights, it gets a little bit personal listening to it,” she said. “You kind of hear people talking about a group of people as if they don’t know gay people or transgender people.”

Lavelle criticized the over three-year moratorium House Bill 142 places on local non-discrimination ordinances.

Carrboro Board of Aldermen member Bethany Chaney criticized House Bill 142, but said the bill may prevent any further negative economic effects from HB2.

“It does nothing to restore protections, or the promise of protections, that local governments would be able to offer,” she said. “And aside from that, this is just another example of how contentious state legislatures have been to local governments, particularly progressive communities.”

Carrboro Board of Aldermen member Damon Seils said the bill was not the full repeal he was looking for.

“The three-year moratorium is, to me, a glaring signal of one of the central problems we’ve had all along with House Bill 2 and every attempt to repeal it: North Carolina does not have inclusive statewide non-discrimination,” he said.

He said, in some ways, LGBTQ people may have been better off under House Bill 2 because of the inclusion of the moratorium in House Bill 142.

“This work is not done; this job is not done,” Seils said. “I know they’re eager to move on, but we can’t let them.”


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